I admit I do not make my decision on who I vote for the same way a lot of other people do. I base most of my decision on the character of the person. What matters to me is the ethics and honesty of the person running. I have no time for anyone that tries to mislead the public or is less than scrupulous with their ethics. One man that meets my criteria better than most is Frank Leonard.
I am supporting Frank Leonard first and foremost because he is one of the most ethical and honest people I know in local politics. He is a man that sets a high standard through how he acts and not by spouting trendy words.
Frank will go more than the extra mile to ensure he is acting in the most ethical manner. He will not vote on applications from UVic because he teaches there a few hours a year. He recused himself from the CRD sewage committee because he is a trustee of the Municipal Pension Plan and it has a significant investment in Corix. In that case he stepped back from the committee as much as he could and allowed his alternate to serve in his stead to ensure Saanich had a consistent fifth member of the committee. Oddly, some people have taken his honest and transparent behavior on the CRD as something nefarious and that really disgusts me.
Everyone I have known that has dealt with Frank has had fair and honest dealings with him. I have not even heard of a rumour of underhandedness by him from anyone. He always been open, honest and frank with me whenever I have had any issue to raise with him.
Frank is also very accessible. Even before I was a Saanich resident I never had any trouble meeting with him. He is an avid twitter user. Most candidates discover social media just before an election, Frank uses it all time and will take part in good debate on twitter.
All that said, Frank and I disagree on one major issue - amalgamation. I think it is better to elect someone good to be mayor that I may disagree with on one issue than not to do so. I think over time I could convince Frank that amalgamation is at least worth looking into....
Overall Frank has done a good job running Saanich as government over the last 18 years. Financially Saanich is in a decent place. I have every faith that another four years under Frank as mayor would be good for the community. Saanich under Frank Leonard has been transitioning from a bedroom community to the heart of the region. I wish that he would push this change faster, but thinking back to 1996, he has done a good job of starting that important shift.
I know some people are interested in change for the sake of change, that 18 years as mayor is too long. I will admit I had would have been interested voting for someone new if they had the same or better skills and experience as Frank. I can count on two hands the people that I think are capable of being a better mayor for Saanich than Frank, something that I can only say about one other municipality in this region. I know some of you out there will raise decisions he has been part of that were mistakes, all I can say to that is no one is perfect and without trying and risking mistakes nothing good will happen.
There is much more that could said about why he is worth voting for but let me just finish with the fact Saanich has been lucky to have someone like Frank Leonard as mayor. I will be voting for him.